TCU led for much of the game, but Gonzaga refused to be denied an eighth straight trip to the Sweet 16 and ousted the Horned Frogs from the NCAA Tournament Sunday night, 84-81.
Mike Miles Jr. finished with 24 points and four assists in his second straight electric game for sixth seed TCU, which was looking to win two games in the same tournament for the first time in program history. In the end, Miles and the Frogs couldn’t hold off the determined third seed Zags and their senior superstar Drew Timme, who scored 28 points including a deciding three-pointer that helped Gonzaga take a seven-point lead with little less than nine minutes to play.
Timme’s triple was his first since December and only his third of the season.
“It was huge – the clock, the two-point lead,” Timme said of the margin before shooting. “I just threw one up there. All you can do is smile and laugh.
After TCU pulled within three late, Timme hit a lane twist shot with a defender draped over him to spark a 4-0 mini-run that put the game out of reach.
Next stop for 2-foot-tall Timme and his social-media-friendly mustache: Las Vegas for the West Region semifinals and a fight with UCLA on Thursday. It will be a rematch of the teams Final Four game from two years ago when Jalen Suggs cashed one from the halfcourt logo to the buzzer for the win.
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few briefly pulled Miles aside during the postgame handshake.
“He said he’s coached a lot of NBA players and that I am,” Miles said. “He is appreciated.”
– Announcement –
Damion Baugh finished with 15 points for TCU, including a not-so-insignificant 3 hitting at the buzzer to help the Horned Frogs cover the 4.5-point spread listed on the FanDuel Sportsbook.
Small consolation for TCU, even though for more than 30 minutes the Frogs (22-13) looked very similar to a top 16 team in the country. They came to the Bulldogs in waves, trying to stop Timme with every big man on the roster.
But while the big Gonzaga had to work for every one of his 12 field goals and eight rebounds, the TCU bigs were all in trouble as the West Region game in Denver wrapped up. One of the two Horned Frogs to foul out was JaKobe Coles, who was the last second runner to give TCU their first round win against Arizona State.
“Obviously, it was pretty early in the first half when we had to make some changes, play a lot of different lineups, probably even deeper than I thought,” said TCU coach Jamie Dixon.
– Announcement –
TCU led by as many as 10 in the first half.
With TCU’s big men struggling, one difference may have been the absence of Eddie Lampkin. Lampkin, a key cog at the TCU front for much of the year, entered the transfer portal just before the Big 12 tournament.